(L to R) Distinguished Conduct Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal; 1939-45 Defence Medal
We don't know anything about Thomas' early life or family, except that he grew up in Manchester.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Thomas joined the Army in around May 1915. He enlisted in the 10th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Force based in Oldham, near Manchester.
Soldiers serving with units of this force were given new service numbers in around March 1917. Thomas' became 376372. We don't know his old number.
The original 10th Battalion had been sent overseas shortly after the war began, so new recruits such as Thomas were assigned to a second 10th Battalion (2/10th) that was being formed. We don't believe Thomas was sent overseas until after he had received his new service number.
The 1/10th and the 2/10th Battalions both served in France and Belgium from March 1917 until February 1918. At this time the 2/10th was disbanded. Unfortunately, because we don't know which unit Thomas was a member of, we can't say for certain where he served.
By the autumn of 1918 Thomas was serving with the 1/10th Battalion. They were taking part in the Allied Hundred Days Offensive which had begun in early August. It was extremely successful and was driving the Germans back. By this time Thomas held the rank of Acting Lance Corporal.
On the 20th October the 1/10th Battalion was taking part in the Battle of the Selle. They were attempting to cross this river around the village of Briastre. During this fighting Thomas carried out an act of great bravery. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the London Gazette of the 18th February 1919. This is his citation:
For marked gallantry and good work at Briastre on 20th October 1918. He, together with another man, brought his Lewis gun in action against a hostile machine gun. His gun, after a few shots, jammed, and, without hesitation, he charged the hostile team, bayoneting four men and capturing the machine gun.
After crossing the Selle, the 1/10th Battalion continued to advance until the end of the war on the 11th November. Thomas survived the war and was demobilised shortly after it ended.
The rest of Thomas' life remains a mystery.
During the Second World War he served in a unit that took part in the defence of Britain against attack. We don't know which unit; it could have been the Home Guard, Air Raid Precautions, the National Fire Service or one of many others. This service was recognised by the award of the 1939-45 Defence Medal.